18 April 2014

Mariners' Quarter II

Sign of the Melting Block:  This old time ice selling family business has recently been taken over by Shalla Luathaich, the grand-niece of the proprietor, who has retired to the countryside.  In reality, “Shalla” is the priestess Tantra, cleric of Mallia – the dread goddess of disease – who with her three acolytes sacrificed Shalla and her grand-uncle, forged the right papers, and plan to use this business to spread disease throughout the Old City and the ships leaving for foreign ports.

Venturers’ Guild Hall:  This surprisingly pedestrian (considering the importance of the maritime trades to the City) five-story building houses the professional guild for merchant sailors for those seeking a harbor pilot, a full-time navigator or able seamen to round out a crew; fishermen have their own Guild on the South Wharves and are not terribly welcome here.  Non-able seamen are discouraged from hanging around until they undergo long apprenticeships or are entrepreneurs or sea captains hiring for voyages.  Those hiring are expected to pay a fee to the Guild depending on the length of voyage and hazards anticipated. 

On the first floor of this wood-and-stucco edifice is a large office where captains and officers gather, and where a large cork board tracks known shipping.  There is a smaller administrative office, where a wall covered with cubbyholes hold messages for passing vessels.  Most of the second floor is taken up by a meeting hall where Venturers can hold rallies, and there is a separately run teahouse on the 2nd floor balcony upon which the sailors take tea and shoot the breeze.  On the third and fourth floors, low cost (and mediocre quality) food and beds for seamen are available barracks style.  Supervising the barracks hall is Leofri, a former bosun’s mate.  The fifth floor has modest “lockers” for long service mariners, with room for a bed, table, chair and seachest and not much more.  Notables include: 

Cap’n Dolan Hide is the cheerful, swarthy son of a Lohvian merchant and a veteran bladesman, well off enough that he sails because he wants to do so.  He cons the Windrose, a 70' fast schooner outfitted for the tea trade and noted for being weatherly.  The Windrose sports no visible cannon, but her swivel guns shoot lightning, not bullets.

Gwythar the Knife is Dolan’s first mate, a giant of mortalendic blood. He is a skilled helmsman, but an unbelievable knife thrower, one of the world’s best.  He is festooned with knives, several enchanted and all Very Fine quality.

Vangar and Varko are twin brothers who own the Sea Lord’s Confidence, a 250 ton roundship.  They take turns as captain and helmsman, and it is difficult to tell which is which; they are both equally humorless and taciturn.  The Connie is a once-renowned sailer that was poorly repaired following a grounding, and a good bit of rot has set in. 

Shena of Seahill captains the Black Risslaca, a shallow draft sideboard schooner with four sweeps designed for inshore and reef work.   The Risslaca is a jumpy, persnickety ship requiring an attentive, attuned helmsman, which Shena is.  She won’t do a knowingly illegal act (emphasis on the “knowingly”) such as smuggling or drug running, but she also asks few questions.

The Trefoil Herb:   Neysa is a fairly prosperous elven blood herbalist.  She has two assistants who spend their time compounding preparations in bulk for the quarter’s physicians.  She is painfully aware her husband Lodos happens to be the Commodore of the Brotherhood of Renders (the great pirate cabal); they are separated and on poor terms.

The Sisterhood of Sublime Mercy Orphanage:  This orphanage hosts several dozen children at any given time, and has a sour reputation in the neighborhood.  The Sisterhood apparently believes in hard work for their charges, claiming it will teach them useful trades and a work ethic, and operates a nearby sharpener and brickmaking factory.  They claim (not completely inaccurately) to place children in fosterage on suburban farms and in apprenticeships in the city, and hotly and persistently maintains their innocence of any wrongdoing, while maintaining (also not completely inaccurately) that they teach the children to read, write and cypher.  More sinisterly, however, Mothers Mellindra and Yhantse sell a steady percentage of the better looking or stronger children as slaves to illicit buyers.  They have onsite a half-dozen scum guards (deliberately picking handsome, innocent looking ones) to help keep the children in line and discourage questions. 

Tyraesa Square:  This large public square in the northwest of the quarter has a weathered sandstone fountain so old the features of the person memorialized are no longer discernable; it is jocularly called “Old King Log” after a notoriously inept monarch of three centuries ago.  The wide base of the fountain is the source of public drinking water for the poor.  The square is also a popular venue for minstrel performances and street theater.

Dock Square:
  This square is somewhat out of the way, and peopled by the lower-class district residents, the fishing trades, and the down and out.  Outsiders – the Town Watch included – will attract scrutiny, and may be harassed by local youths and wannabe thugs.  There are a number of pushcarts selling various ready-to-eat foods, which is ignored by troopers as long as the thoroughfare isn’t blocked. 

No comments:

Post a Comment